Iowa Democratic caucus results delayed due to 'new voting app'

4 February 2020, 08:14

Iowa residents vote in the Democratic Party caucuses
Iowa residents vote in the Democratic Party caucuses. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The first round of voting to decide the Democrats’ candidate in the 2020 US presidential election has descended into chaos after inconsistencies were found in reporting of the results.

The Iowa caucus results were delayed due to new technology used to report the results - an app used to deliver the results from the 1,700 caucus meetings.

The delays were initially put down to "quality checks" and new reporting rules.

Results were still not known going into Tuesday.

Des Moines County Democratic chair Tom Courtney said he heard that in precincts across his county, including his own, the mobile app was "a mess".

Voters packed caucus sites across the state with at least four leading candidates battling to win the opening contest of the 2020 campaign, and ultimately, the opportunity to run against President Donald Trump.

What are the Iowa caucuses and how do they work?

Democrats hoped that the state caucuses would provide some clarity for what has been a muddled nomination fight for much of the past year.

But the apparent technology issues delayed the results as the state party suggested turnout was on track to match 2016 numbers.

(left to right) Candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg
(left to right) Candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Picture: PA

Party officials held a call with campaigns as concerns were growing over the delays.

Spokeswoman Mandy McClure said the party "found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results".

"In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report," she said.

"This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results."

Long before any significant results were released, the candidates pressed ahead with post-election rallies claiming momentum.

"It looks like it's going to be a long night, but we're feeling good," former Vice President Joe Biden said, suggesting the final results would "be close".

"We're in this for the long haul."

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he had "a good feeling we're going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa" once results were posted.

"Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump," he predicted.

Des Moines County Democratic Chair Tom Courtney blamed technology issues in his county, relaying precinct reports that the app created for caucus organisers to report results was "a mess".

Polls have suggested that Mr Sanders might have a narrow lead, but any of the top four candidates - Mr Sanders, Mr Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg - could score a victory in Iowa's unpredictable and quirky caucus system.

Iowa offers just a tiny percentage of the delegates needed to win the nomination but plays an outsize role in culling primary fields.

The past several Democrats who won the Iowa caucuses went on to clinch the party's nomination.